You know Christmas can’t be far off when St Andrew Square transforms into a glistening strategically placed circular sheet of ice. Skaters can enjoy a 360-degree journey around the square while becoming accustomed to moving a little faster than usual. Those in need of a touch of Dutch courage can locate a tipple at the bar too. If only the whole of George Street could be like this — holiday shopping would be over quicker than ever.
A favourite amongst locals, this rink has been around since the 1930s and attracts ice lovers of all levels. From figure skating and ice hockey, to public skating, this rink does it all, while making sure that the rink is at the perfect temperature for a myriad of different ice sports. Home to the Edinburgh Capitals ice hockey team, it is situated right next to Murrayfield Stadium and sports 3,800 seats for those who prefer to watch from a distance! Those comfortable enough to skate in time to the music (or at least make an attempt) will no doubt become a regular on Fridays and Saturdays — the lights grow dimmer, the outfits snazzier, spirits higher, and the tunes more catchy, thanks to the resident DJ.
Even those who fall into the category of ‘non-skaters’ cannot help but smile like a kid on Christmas morning when they see the magic that ensues in Princes Street Gardens during the holiday season. Winter Wonderland is a place overflowing with twinkling lights, mulled wine, happy music and, of course, the best temporary ice rink in the city. If only it could be like that every day of the year. The ice may get sludgier than other rinks (due to the crowds of cheerful faces), but negotiating where to glide is part of the fun. There are plenty of stalls selling mulled wine, as well as ornaments, crafts, roasted chestnuts, and more. From the towering Scott Monument and the myriad of Christmas lights, to the castle smiling down at all the moving dots, there is something truly magical about this spectacular yearly ritual.
If Edinburgh’s Murrayfield Ice Rink or the pop-up options of Winter Wonderland and St Andrew Square do not suffice, then perhaps embark on an epic hunt in search of a frozen lake – only if the weather permits though, naturally. For years, curling clubs in Edinburgh and the surrounding Lothians have taken advantage of the glazed-over lochs and lakes of Scotland, turning them into their very own ice rinks. This is your chance to recreate Sir Henry Raeburn’s iconic painting Revd. Robert Walker Skating On Duddingston Loch, which can be found at the Scottish National Gallery. While reimagining your own artistic masterpiece, please do try and skate carefully. Oh, and steer clear of the centre.